Comedian Fodder

November 9, 2009 in Antioxidants, Blog Recipes, Diabetic Menu Item, Health Claims, Mediterranean, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

Oh My Goodness – Sometimes I think the news about food processors is fodder for comedians; and this is such a great example that I couldn’t let it pass without a comment.

Headline in Nutra Ingredients – USA’s November 5, 2009 publication: “Swine flu prompts Kellogg to quit Rice Krispies immunity claims.”

I wish that the public statements at least made sense, so that I could go from A to B; but it’s as though they believe their own marketing. This is funny stuff – I admit it may be funny only to  those of us who are onto food marketers, but having said that, from my perspective it’s comedian fodder.

Here’s where the story begins:
Kellogg Company, you know the big cereal people, decided that it was a brilliant marketing idea, starting in May 2009 to slap banners on their Rice Krispies product saying that it is a booster to the immune system.  For about a year they’ve added increased amounts of vitamin A, B, (they list B as a single vitamin, so I don’t know which of the eight B vitamins that they’ve increased) C and E.

They justify the addition of the vitamins A, B, C and E saying, “These nutrients have been identified by the Institute of Medicine and other studies as playing an important role in the body's immune system. Therefore, we believe the claim ... is supported by reliable and competent scientific evidence.”

A little bit of devil’s advocate here. Because studies have shown that foods that contain vitamins A, the eight B vitamins, C and E have been shown to have an important role in the body’s immune system; is plopping in those extracted nutrients, minus all the hundreds of other nutrients found naturally in those foods exactly the same as eating those foods? I know that Kellogg’s reads the scientific literature, because they are always ready to take advantage of it in their marketing, but do they just throw away clear ways of thinking about these findings? What will it take to help people understand that we can’t start with processed white rice, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, salt and malt flavoring and dump in vitamins and get an immune system boost. But food processors add the vitamin supplements then (Here’s where the magic wand comes in handy!) give it a beautiful banner saying, ‘This is super for your immune system.’ “Why would you even think so?” I ask. “You add vitamins, and recent studies discount vitamin supplements.  That’s what you are adding.” Also, maybe someone could help me understand which nutrients are NOT involved in a healthy immune system.

The point is that they say that adding these few vitamins make their sweet cereal great for improved immunity. A better alternative: those calories could be used to add a sliced banana; some berries or some canned peaches to a real whole grain cereal, or to pancakes, muffins, or served with whole grain toast.  Now that would be potentially ‘boosting’ the consumer’s immunity;” but white rice flour and sugar? Give me a break!

Americans who eat Rice Krispies and get swine flu will sadly not be able to blame Kellogg.  The Kellogg Company pulled the immunity claims from Rice Krispies. The reason that the company gave for pulling the claim is a link to swine flu.  This is part of the statement released by Kellogg, “While science shows that these antioxidants help support the immune system, given the public attention on H1N1, the Company decided to make this change.” The immunity boost information will be on the packaging for the next few months, because some product has already begun distribution.

After I stopped laughing and recovered from my on-going annoyance with food processors, I decided that tomorrow morning I should make one of our fancy pancake recipes and post the pictures. Hope it turns out good and looks yummy too.

The Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple Walnut Topping are done - they taste like a super treat! How often are you served fruit, veggies and whole grains in one American-Mediterranean style breakfast? What do you think?

Remember: Good Health Can Be Yummy™

Gathering the ingredients

Gathering the ingredients

Chop the tangy, juicy apples.

Chop the tangy, juicy apples.

Caramelize the apples

Caramelize the apples

Add walnuts and gently skillet roast until golden.

Gently skillet roast until golden.

Grate the yam.

Grate the yam.

Spread out the grated yam with the tip of the spoon.

Spread out the grated yam with the tip of the spoon.

Slowly brown while cooking grated yam.

Slowly brown while cooking grated yam.

Serve with sweetened Greek Yogurt and the Apple Walnut Topping.

Serve with sweetened Greek Yogurt and the Apple Walnut Topping.